MarketCounsel Summit: Innovate, Disrupt, and Win with Eric Clarke


Welcome to the permission to succeed podcast. The purpose of our podcast is to inspire you with stories and wisdom. Learn for people who are out there, killing it people who at some point in their life themselves permission to succeed now out of the show with your hosts Matt Helen, and Doug hike, Annan. Hello and welcome. We are live from the Market Council summit meeting, and beautiful Vegas at the four seasons hotel. Our next guest is, Eric Clark. The founder NC Yeovil Ryan advisor services, the industry's premier portfolio counting platform for visors now, the permission to succeed podcast is about learning from and being inspired from the people out there who are just killing him. And because it some point they gave themselves permission to succeed much like our guest Erik. So Eric, you have achieved something. That a lot of people have stepped up to the plate for man, right? They have technology solutions. But the biggest problem that, that I wanna know how you've overcome his advisors implementation of technology. They're like technophobes. How have you been able to bring them into the fold in really? Use what you've created. Absolutely will thank you to not or to be on the podcasts of afternoon and to spend some time with, you know, when we look at helping our advisors implement technology. You know, we really got our start as the operations in IT group, for registered investment advisor. And as we were out looking for technology to better support our fiduciary advisory business. We couldn't find what we needed, and we had tried series of off the shelf solutions that didn't, you know, didn't meet the Mark as far as what we were looking for. And because we had that experience and because we were not a technology business. Selling into the advisory community. We were in adviser I and we knew exactly what technology. We needed to support our business really presented a huge opportunity for us because the business plan came to us, so to speak, when we were creating the technology, the Orion technology. We really needed it, and because of that need, you know, really formed the, the start of our business. And we did know one thing, right off the bat, and that is that we needed to have other advisory firms participating and utilizing that technology for us to remain relevant over time. That's the nearly twenty years ago that we started our business and today, we support just over eighteen hundred individual firms tens of thousands of advisors that use our technology and. We maintain and support just over seven hundred fifty billion dollars of, of assets on the technology platform today. Well, let's talk about the platform itself because it has grown exponentially. Since what you have built what you built at the beginning, would you mind just giving us a little brief glimpse of the amazing created? Absolutely. So we do three main things for the advisory firms that we support, we do reporting we do billing, and we do trading and under the reporting category, we do some really innovative things you know, reports of evolved over time certainly were, not just focused on, you know, creating printed and mailed reports anymore today, we have interactive, you know, onscreen presentation capabilities, we support client portals mobile apps. The ability to text information to clients those types of things, so underneath the reporting category where we have a lot of really fun. And, and intr-. Interesting ways that we can help. Our advisers be innovative beyond that when it comes time to billing, that's the technology that we have at a Ryan, that is near and dear to our advisers, heart, because that's how they ultimately get paid. And we support you know, lots of different ways for advisors to work with clients. Whether that on a assets under management basis, a flat fee basis, or even the ability to support financial planning fees as they're working with new relationships or prospects and beyond the Bill in the third main component of our technologies the trading, and we are really focused on creating ways for our advisers to create scale with their businesses and one of the ways that we do that is allow our advisors to assign model portfolios to a whole series of underlying client accounts. They can assign those not only at the account level, but also at the household level. To create some tax efficiency, which is a really exciting thing for advisors to talk to their clients about these days is adding tax to their portfolios. So there's the three main things that we support with technology. And there's a lot of technology out there that advisors the that we don't support natively from our system. And so we do have a web API layer that efficiency integrates. Our technology with the other third party technologies that are advisers use, like financial planning systems CRM systems risk management systems. Those types of things now. Everything is moving so quickly technology. We were joking this morning on the way. Here, it was watching a, a Netflix special, just algorithms alone, which is like a two and a half hour, Netflix special. How do you keep up? I mean, how do you stay so relevant? Because I think that's one of the biggest strengths for Orion. You're absolutely correct. The rate of change in the world around us is moving at an increasing rate, certainly the change that we see in our lives day today is much more rapid than say it was two or three years ago. And if we look to three years ahead into the future, we would definitely see or intimidate that the rate of change at that point is going to be moving out of faster clip than it is today. So an order for us to be successful in the technology business we have to constantly disrupt our own business. So we have to do. Do things that are constantly challenged, challenging the way that we think about our business the way that we think about providing services to our advisers and beyond that the way that our advisors provide services to their clients. And so, for us to be successful into the future, we are going to have to disrupt our current business model, and continue to disrupt that model and think of very innovative ways that we can help our advisers win. Eric success personal success doesn't happen overnight. It's through a series of experiences through people along the way, can you share with us a little bit about growing up, and what were your influences? Absolutely. So I grew up in a household where my father and mother encouraged us to work. I was one of four boys and I have one sister. But if you get imagine a household with four, boys. Your, your parents are going to be busy having you work in. We were encouraged to start our own businesses, MB entrepreneurial, so. I used to mow yards, you know, at a very basic level kind of teaches you the importance of, you know, good customer service collections invoices, those very simple business things, and I also learned that I didn't like mowing yards. And so my brother Scott and I decided that we were both competitive swimmers. And we decided that we would start teaching swimming lessons in our backyard, and we actually did that for a period of eight years, all through high school college and a little bit into grad school, as well, because we got that business built up to the point where we're teaching over five hundred kids summer, and that business really gave us both really entrepreneurial. Beginning to deciding, hey, you know what I'd like to start and run an operating my own business. One day now as I finished up graduate school. My father had a financial planning and investment advisory business, and it just made sense for me to go to work in our family business, and ultimately, while I was there came up with the business plan to start the, the Orion technology business and had the support of my father and his partners at the time to start that business, and we spun ourselves out of the or a deform, the company that today's a Ryan in December of nineteen ninety nine so was there a point through all this? And this podcast is called permission to succeed where you came to a point where you're like, I don't know and you look deep inside. He said I can do all this. I think that the best way. To describe that feeling for me was that I didn't have a plan b it was make this business success or be in jeopardy of alternately, not making a house payment making a car payment. I didn't have the luxury of saying, well, if this business doesn't work out. I'm going to go do something else. This was that for me. I mean, I had an accounting degree in graduate degree in business. But ultimately, I felt like this was a plan a and plan, B all at the same time and, and, and it was incredibly important me on a personal basis that this business be successful. And I think that as you look at a lot of entrepreneurial, entrepreneurial success stories out there you realize that they were successful because plan B didn't look all that attractive. And as a result of that, you know, you make it work, and you figure out how you're going to, to make this business success. And that's fortunately, what we're able to, to do over the past twenty years at Orion. Okay. I want to we're going to rewind the time line here, because they're couple of things that you just said, are utterly fascinating. Pains me that your parents, try to foster that entrepreneurial, so the they gave you permission. How did they do that? I mean, did they say air go make some money? I mean help us understand because we don't hear that often on the podcast. Right. It's usually somebody has an epiphany. They fell down, and they're like, I'm going to dust myself off, and I'm kick this, but help us with that way. Absolutely. So my father was an entrepreneur entrepreneurial, he had that entrepreneurs mindset you know, he left of a brokerage firm in nineteen seventy three to go out on his own with an independent broker dealer. And at that time, there weren't too many breakaway brokers, as, as we referred to them today in this business, and, you know, he really went out with his partner, you know, his branch manager at Dean, Witter when they were bought out and they went out on their own and were selling mutual funds in the, the mid to late seventies, and decided to put a manage to count wrapper around those mutual funds. And so with his mindset, you know, we grew up in a household where being out on our own was not something that was out of the norm. In fact, I, I know that my father took a, a little bit of heat about his entrepreneurial desires, from his father in law, who had worked at the same company is very successfully for over forty year timeframe. So I do think that there was a mindset that, that was an okay thing to take a risk and not only take a risk. But you were expected to work really hard and make it work. How did they support you with that? Because with that risk. And since that was something that was just part of your dad. Right. And he instilled that on you and your brothers. When you did fall down, right? What sort of stuff did he pass on going back to my, my years, and my college years, Monique, even the summer that I did this in graduate school? When we were doing swimming lessons, and I know that is not what this podcast is about. But the entrepreneurial spark in the, the being given the, the freedom to, to experience both risk and failure. You know, most people don't put in swimming pool in their backyard to allow five hundred kids to come and participate in swimming lessons, not only that, but our parents paid for the chlorine wheat, we had to maintain the pool for them. But from eight to five every day that pool was in full use, and people were coming and going from our home. We drove our neighbors crazy. You know, our parents stuck for us with, with the neighbors as they would complain about the traffic from time to time. But those types of. Of support systems really allowed us to say to ourselves. Hey, we can start something we can make something here. And in fact, we can experience a greater reward by starting our own business as opposed to going to work somewhere else at the time. You know minimum wage was not a very attractive rate at, at that point, not that it is today, but his certainly wasn't then compared to what we could make by starting in running your own business. No, Matt to the way back machine and we're gonna come back to today and warming up and talking to you about a Ryan the first thing you said was you have a great team. And that's everybody needs to team. But what have you learned about yourself along the way? That's been key. You know, I've learned that I have a lot of ideas I, I love to be innovative. I have to be careful though, because not all of my ideas or good ideas, and I have to leverage the skill said and the diversity of my team to keep my ideas and check so that I don't go too far down a road that, that ultimately won't be successful. And when I say my team, I would also include our advisers that we have the opportunity to serve and to work for our advisers. I feel are some of the very best advisors in the country and they have shared invaluable ideas and feedback with us over the past twenty years to make our technology, what it is today. We would not be where we are today without the incredible. Feedback of those advisers and their teams in addition to my staffs ideas and feed. Bac. But all of those types of things have allowed us to keep our ideas in check. Well, one of the things that I really want to try to do with his podcast when Doug, and I talked about giving people permission. If you were able to give a young entrepreneur, that one piece of sage advice that, either you wish you had or you heard early on in your entrepreneurial career, what would that be? You know there are three things that I think are core to our Orion DNA, and they're certainly core to my DNA, and that is Enervate, disrupt and win. And I love to think that regardless of what business I am running that those three things, I would I would carry with me. I'm a huge believer in being innovative. It doesn't take a lot of brilliance to determine that you need to be innovative in the tech space. But our advisers need to be innovative, as well were all threatened by technology, different levels at different way. As Kamata ties in the value add and the specific value proposition that we have at any given point in time. So we always have to be innovative. None of us want to be, you know, tomorrow's blockbuster videos or the blackberry phone where we enjoy a lot of market, share and a fair degree of success. Ultimately gets a leapfrog by being innovative out innovated by the competition, and to be innovative, you have to be willing to constantly disrupt your business model. You have to constantly challenge the way that you do things to become a better and ultimately those two ingredients should lead you to fair degree of success and result in wins. And having a culture that fosters not only trying hard and putting a lot of effort in but the end result of winning is really a lot of fun to be a part of and something that the. You know that we certainly strive for a Ryan. So we, we try every single solitary time. We do this podcast to pull little nuggets. Right. Well, I don't know if you noticed I took a bunch of extra notes, because your nuggets were fantastic. So the first nugget, which I think we could do an entire podcast on this. So I'm just going to do this as a rhetorical question which is disrupt your own business. Isn't that scary? Right. I mean you have used that word repeatedly and I just before we wrap things up. That's terrifying. Man. I mean business people are like, I'm not gonna updates working what is terrifying to me is letting someone else, disrupt your business, so you essentially, you have two choices in this life. You can either be the one that disrupts your business and helps your business move forward or you can let someone else do it. I always think of the NFL dilemma as not being a dilemma, you need to be willing to identify the innovators dilemma. What's holding your business back a lot of times? We have artificial boundaries if I ever hear my staff, say, you know what if I was going to start over this is what I would do. And then I would ask them what's preventing us from doing that? You know, and really being able to play kinda the devil's advocate, if you will, and constantly challenging our way of thinking because when we have those ideas when we have those thoughts, I think we're onto something great. And there's a real. Opportunity. Forced capitalize on that. Eric, thank you so much for hanging out this day and talking about this stuff. They accuse well four Doug and Eric, this is Matt Halloran just to wrap things up. If you have not disrupted your own business, somebody else's going to disrupt it for you, in fact, Racine and financial services, left and right. That technologies are coming in. Robo advisors are coming in no fee, platforms are coming. There's a lot of different things that are coming into disrupt. And if you don't get in front of that, unfortunately, you're going to be left behind number two. You have to be innovative. We have this inherent fear and financial services to try something unique and different, whether we have the excuse of compliance or whatever terrible excuse that you want to use. You have to really get past that. But the favorite thing that, that I think Eric said today, that really just makes me super happy is celebrating the win very few of you stop and say, I won because this is not a marathon, this is. Series of sprints? And if you always see where that finish line is, and if you're always going to celebrate each individual win one, you're going to be more motivated to your team's gonna be happier and three. You're gonna run a better business. So four Eric and four Doug, and everybody here with performance to secure permission to succeed. This is Matt Hallard. And we'll see on the other side of the Mike very soon. This was brought to you by iris dot XYZ. A platform helping financial professionals become better in business, and life through new media and new voices, visit them. And learn more at iris dot XYZ.

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